The challenge obviously this week is the Browns. They are a football team that, maybe much like we have been, have not played up to where they expect themselves to be at this point. Offensively, they still have basically the same players playing for them. They've had a few injuries up front. But Jamal Lewis and the players they have -- Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards -- are still very explosive guys offensively. Defensively, with the addition of Shaun Rogers and Corey (Williams), they've really upgraded themselves on the front line. They're big, explosive guys, so they're very similar to what we've faced the first three weeks of the year. They're a very formidable group up front, and on special teams, they have a great returner (Joshua Cribbs). We know how explosive he can be and the challenge that lies ahead with him.
Q: How do you block Shaun Rogers?ML:
Get your pads underneath his pads, just like you would block most people. But he's a good player, and he's playing well. So he's going to be a challenge, just like we've played against.
Q: Some of the guys in the locker room told us that turnovers and sacks are really being stressed by the coaches this week:ML:
Those things tend to come in bunches within the NFL season. If you keep doing things the correct way, all of a sudden those balls start to bounce your way. You just keep going and keep executing, and your timing's got to be good. You need to be in the right spots and the right pressure points at the right times.
Q: Do you think it's more of a mentality with getting turnovers?ML:
It's a mentality that most defensive players have, and when you become more sure of your job and your responsibilities, then you're in the right spots a little more quickly, and that's what happens. You get more of those, and our guys have been very good at that (takeaways) over the years. We've gone through droughts before, and then things turn around. You just keep doing it the way you're doing it, and good things will happen for you.
Q: Same thing with sacks?ML:
Same thing, and sometimes offensive style, protections and things like that have a little bit to do with it as well. If you're playing teams that are more apt to free-release people, there's more of those opportunities. If you play teams that are more apt to protect the quarterback in their setups and so forth, then it works the other way. It's a combination of both. It's a combination of, 'Do you get some with the four-man rush?' or 'Do you get some with pressures?', and you've got to be good with both.
Q: Romeo Crennel mentioned earlier that the winner of this game will still be in the race. Do you think about the meaning of this game down the road?ML:
Not too much. This is the focus right now is this game and where we are. I'm sure both teams are looking at it the same way, and have each other circled.
Q: How would you both be looking at it?ML:
Just that you've got to get ready to win the football game. That's how they're looking at it, and that's the way we've got to be looking at it.
Q: How important is this game to your future here?ML:
Oh, I don't think it has a bearing on my future. Beyond that, I guess it's up to (the media), if it does. It's serious to me, but it's got nothing to do with my future. And if it does, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. So you don't have to worry about me losing sleep over it, other than the fact that I want to win the football game. But my future doesn't cause me any worry. So if you're thinking about questions (regarding my future), we can dispel that one right now.
Q: Romeo said he can't believe both teams are 0-3. Can you?ML:
Well, I can, because it's reality. Unfortunately, that's where we are. I know they had a fine season last year. And a couple years ago, their season wasn't quite as good and it didn't go very good at the end for them. Romeo, I consider a friend of mine, somebody I call and talk to. We've talked a bunch about different things both on the field and off the field. He's a strong guy. He's been in this for a long time. He's a very, very fine coach. He's very diligent, and we're both trying to get the same answers.
If you listen to what their players are saying, it's the same thing ours are saying. We've got to sharpen up those edges, do things better, do it more often. Because we both know that we're better football teams than teams that haven't won a game. But that's where we are right now. And you don't get to start where you left off. What you did last year isn't worth anything right now. It doesn't help you in any way. You've got to go do what you're doing today, and do it with the people you have today.
Q: You are forced to make a (roster) move on Chris Henry on Monday:ML:
We will not have to make a move Monday with Chris Henry, so you can relax that one, too. I think he may be off suspension, but I don't think that forces us to make a move.
Q: Chris Perry looked good in the first half last week, and not so good in the second half:ML:
I think he looked just about as sharp in the second. I don't know if he changed much. I think every time he carries the ball he runs hard. The thing a runner has to guard against is thinking that the cut that was there last time is there the next time, or vice-versa. He's got to let every snap play out. What I like about Chris is, his conditioning level has been great. His running, his finish on the runs, continues to get better and better, and he's having fun. When he doesn't gain positive yardage or enough of it, or if he knows he maybe missed the cut or missed this, or we don't get the last hand on a guy or shove and they get him down, he's disappointed he didn't gain more yardage. I think we've got the right guy going, so I feel good about where he is.
Q: Have you noticed a difference in Chris Perry since he has become "the man" for you? ML:
I have. I can remember our time with Chris prior to the draft, I remember our time with him in Indianapolis, I remember spending time with him at Michigan, I remember him here on draft day, or the day after draft day, when he came in the locker room. I remember the brightness of his eyes, his smile. He carried himself like a No. 1 pick. I think that through different things and injuries, and maybe not having the opportunity that he'd hoped he had or would get, it's been tough on him. He's had to listen to people criticize him or be critical of him because he's been injured, and that's no fault of his own. But with football, he's always been a very hard worker.
Some other things have happened in his life, which I think has maybe settled him more and that's been good. He is that guy we picked No. 1, and that's good. He's got great abilities, he's very smart, he's diligent about his job. Very conscientious. I think that's shown through. He's had to work his tail off. And he's come back from what was termed to me, a very horrific injury (dislocated ankle).
Q: Romeo Crennel left the door open with the quarterbacks in Cleveland. Derek Anderson will start, but (Brady) Quinn will be ready. Will you practice for both, and is there a difference in preparation? ML:
I don't think there's a lot of difference, other than the fact that sometimes when a guy hasn't played as much, he's more apt to pull the ball down and run with it, I think that would probably be the major difference. A guy who hasn't had the experience and the snaps, and he comes into this element the first time, he's more apt to not want a bad, bad play, so he'll pull the ball down and try to make something positive happen. So to answer, I'd say yes, at that point, guys have to be aware that there has been a change made. That's what you guys saw in Ryan (Fitzpatrick) when Ryan came in the game in the preseason. There's more things apt to happen that way, maybe because every play means a great deal to that back-up player, so he's going to make it as positive as he can.